While investigating the crash, in the horn of Africa, of an Aircom Owlet supposedly flown by Bowden on a record attempt from London to Cape Town, Biggles discovered from a comparison of dental records that the body in the crash was not that of Bowden but that of a younger man. Later, Biggles discovered from Hay, the Aircom agent, that the aircraft was in fact paid for by Renford. Calling at Renford's flat at Jermyn street, Biggles found that Renford had not been seen for some ten days. From Biggles' enquiries, it emerged that Renford had most likely been on board the Owlet with Bowden during the record-breaking attempt (although it was meant to be a solo flight). While over the horn of Africa, Bowden had diverted and landed at El Bishra where he murdered Sheikh Ibn Usfa and stole his pearl collection. Back over Sudan, Bowden had shot Renford in the head and then parachuted out of the aircraft, leaving it to crash on its own.